WHAT IS LABOR CERTIFICATION?
Labor Certification is the process whereby the Department of Labor (DOL) certifies that there are insufficient U.S. workers and that the employment of a foreign worker will not adversely affect the wages or work conditions of similarly employed U.S. workers. Each year, approximately 140,000 employment-based immigrant visas are available to immigrants based on their job skills. The majority of these visas are obtained through the labor certification process.
In most cases, a labor certification is the first step to take when acquiring an employment-based residency (or “green cards”) in the United States. Our firm guides the employers through the many steps necessary, including the request for a prevailing wage determination, conducting a bona fide recruitment for the position, and filing of the certification with the DOL.
DO I NEED A NON-IMMIGRANT EMPLOYMENT VISA BEFORE BEGINNING THE LABOR CERTIFICATION PROCESS?
No. A sizable portion of employment-based residencies are granted to persons abroad each year. A company can choose to pursue residency for any employee they wish, so long as the individual meets the qualifications for the position and all other requirements. Thus, if you qualify for a position, have an employer willing to sponsor you, and it is a position for which the employer cannot otherwise find qualified candidates, your employer may pursue a labor certification on your behalf.
WHY SHOULD A COMPANY FILE FOR LABOR CERTIFICATION FOR ITS EMPLOYEE?
There are many benefits for the company. A nonimmigrant worker has few options to become a lawful permanent resident, and the primary avenue is the labor certification process, followed by an immigrant worker petition. A company-sponsored employee for labor certification is much more likely to be loyal to a company that sponsors them. This is the gold standard of employee benefits, as it assures the employee a future in the United States.
CAN I APPLY FOR A LABOR CERTIFICATION WITH MY EMPLOYMENT-BASED NON-IMMIGRANT VISA?
If you hold H-1B status, the labor certification process is the primary option to become a legal permanent resident. In recent years, advances in the waiting times published in the monthly Department of State Visa Bulletin have caused shorter waiting times to obtain a “green card.”
Our role is to protect the Petitioning Employer by meticulously following all DOL and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) regulations, using a third-party company for job opportunity advertising, documenting the ads and recruitment efforts, and guiding the employer to comply with all required steps. We work with the understanding that time is of the essence and that the employer needs the employee as soon as possible.
WHAT COMES AFTER THE LABOR CERTIFICATION?
The labor certification qualifies the foreign employee as the beneficiary of an employment-based second or third preference residency petition through USCIS Form I-140. The principal elements of the I-140 petition process involve the establishment of a bona fide job opportunity, the qualifications of the beneficiary for the position offered, as well as the petitioning company’s ability to pay the wage offered.
Once the DOL approves the labor certification, we will need evidence of the employee’s qualifications, such as experience and educational achievements. We also request the employer provides us with proof of the ability to pay the salary offered in the labor certification.